Monday, June 27, 2005
Watch out, Watch out, The EP's About!

Not satisfied with discounting Blair's waffle last Thursday, the European Parliament has launched another attack on 'national egotism', otherwise known as democracy. This time, they are irked by the revanchism of nation-states who continue to structure and procure their defences on a national basis!

In order to prevent this, the European Parliament has proposed that most European of instruments, a Directive, setting out rules for national defence procurement that will ensure national interests are discounted - presumably in favour of a common foreign and security policy. As the European Parliament debated various wordy documents in which their ideas could repose, the concept of a single market in defence procurement, governed by the Commission, sounds a one-way ticket to the elephant's graveyard.

The Commission's Green Paper outlined two ways of responding to the fragmentation of the EU defence market and to the Member States' systematic use of Article 296. One would be a Commission communication, which would clarify the existing legal framework, the other a directive aimed to fix specific rules in the field of defence procurement. Most MEPs and experts at the hearing argued for a parallel approach, calling for both a directive and a communication. Some also advocated the introduction of a Code of Conduct in defence procurement, although disagreement as to the effectiveness of such a tool was clear.

For further information, an interview with Nick Witney, head of the European Defence Agency, can be found here. Note the cautionary tone towards the United States whilst realising that unless all governments agree, his bureaucratic expansion is just another public works scheme providing fantastic pension benefits to the underemployed.


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